Major networks are gearing up for fall premieres that are just around the corner. Guys eagerly anticipate the start of the NFL football season and women eagerly await the premiere of their favorite sitcom’s new season. Ah yes, fall programming is in the air, and second screens are in viewers hands. For better or worse, the new reality of TV viewing seems to be with smartphone or iPad in hand. Connected TV, as they call it, has a couple of categories, one of which is the device or devices the viewer engages with while watching shows. The second is the device used to watch connected TV.
Kit Eaton discusses the first one, referencing the trend to watch TV with smartphone or iPad in hand
. He cites a Pew survey of 2,200 US adults showing 52% of adult cell phone users incorporate their cell phone into their TV viewing habits. What does this mean? Well the statistics of the survey showed that 6% voted for a reality show result in the last 30 days, 11% checked to see what people online were saying about the show they were viewing, 11% commented online about what they were watching, 22% checked to see if something on TV was true and 23% texted someone they knew watching the same show elsewhere. 20% visited a website they saw on TV and 38% amused themselves with their phone during commercial breaks. As for the iPad, a January 2011 survey shows iPad usage corresponding with prime-time TV slots. Although these show interest gaining, it’s a slow gain, as connected TV is in its infancy. Case in point, these are not high percentages. Yet, connected viewers are connected viewers and its all got to start somewhere.
eMarketer’s article explores the second part of the equation: connected TVs
. Popular consoles being Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360. According to DFC Intelligence, 24 million North American households own a connected TV. In general, viewers have positively engaged with video ads on their connected TV’s. 38% visited a website mentioned in a connected TV ad, 36% considered purchasing a product or service mentioned in a connected TV ad, and 34% went on to look for a mentioned product in a store or online. Also, a survey by Tremor Video had consumers stating they watched 12 hours through their connected device per week. Although these statistics show more promise than the last set, they still leave something to be desired. A study by Adap.tv and DIGIDAY indicate that interest in connected TV by advertisers grew slowly between 2010 and 2012. Now nearly a third of advertisers support the channel, but maybe they’re right to be cautious. Robert Andrews reports, via a Deloitte UK survey of 2,000 people, that nearly half of 16-24-year-olds use email and social networks but only 1 in 10 second-screeners actually browse the Internet for information about shows they’re watching
. It may be smart for them not to jump the gun too quickly. However, this kind of viewing is deemed distractive viewing and there’s also a movement towards extensions of viewing like TV Guide’s Watchlist app
If anything, it’s advantage is that TV Guide’s already established as something you use while watching TV. Their app is simply a digital extension of what they’re already known for, making it a natural transition for a second-screen viewer. Watchlist includes “New Tonight Trending,” a social hot list based on what TV Guide users are watching, as well as offering better filtering features, social check-ins, video search and more. The app itself allows you to add your shows to a list, and tells you what’s new on TV, OnDemand, Streaming and on DVD with each show. It also shows you how many people are watching them in a screen where you can set reminders that let you know your show is starting. Watchlist definitely makes a good companion to the TV viewing experience if nothing else, and holds the advantage of being something people are already used to using when watching TV. But which will win out? Companion apps or engagement on smartphones and iPads? Will viewers grow more connected, or disconnected? All interesting questions that will be answered in due time. There’s still a lot of speculation and trial and error where connected TV is concerned. The verdict? Connected TV is something to keep an eye on, but don’t get too excited yet.